PM Dahal plays the spoilsport, asks FM Paudyal not to attend UNHRC meeting in Geneva
KATHMANDU, Feb 27: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has stopped Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Paudyal at the last minute from visiting Switzerland to attend a pre-scheduled meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The foreign minister was all set to leave for Geneva on Sunday to participate in the meeting of the UN rights body. Instead, Prime Minister Dahal has sent former Law Minister and a leader of the ruling CPN (Unified Socialist) Gobinda Bandi to Geneva, leading the Nepali delegation to the UNHRC.
Sources said Bandi is participating in the meeting in the capacity of an advisor of Prime Minister Dahal. Prime Minister Dahal had earlier asked Foreign Minister Paudyal to take a subject expert in her team to which foreign minister had agreed.
When inquired about the subject expert, Prime Minister Dahal took Bandi’s name. After the Prime Minister’s directive to stop Paudyal’s visit, Bandi, who was supposed to accompany FM Paudyal as ‘subject expert’, is scheduled to make Nepal’s statement during the UNHRC meeting in his capacity as Prime Minister Dahal’s advisor.
It may be noted that the Prime Minister’s Office had not given any information about Bandi’s appointment as an advisor. Sources claimed that he might have been given a backdated appointment.
It was advocate Bandi, who earlier crafted the controversial Transitional Justice (TJ) amendment bill that sought to distinguish between ‘murder with torture and murder without torture’. Conflict victims had alleged that he had become too friendly to perpetrators, denying justice to victims in the proposed TJ bills.
The latest development comes in the wake of Maoist Center breaking alliance with the UML and forging a new alliance with the NC in the presidential election. Maoist Center Chairman Dahal was elected with the support of the CPN-UML. FM Dr Paudyal was appointed as minister from the UML.
Foreign Minister Dr Paudyal said she was all prepared to visit Geneva until this morning, but had to drop her plan in the evening after receiving a message from the prime minister telling her not to attend the meeting.
Minister Paudyal’s visit to Geneva was crucial in the wake of the International Network of Human Rights Organizations (GANRI)’s recommendation that the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal should be downgraded to the B category.
Minister Paudyal had made all necessary preparations to take the initiative to maintain the status of NHRC in the A category during her visit to Geneva. She was also scheduled to visit Doha from Geneva and participate in the fifth conference of least developed countries there. However, now her visit has been canceled.
Meanwhile, the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Dahal to Qatar on Friday to participate in the fifth conference of least developed countries at the expense of Foreign Minister Paudyal has been postponed. Sources said the prime minister decided to cancel his visit citing preparations needed for the presidential election.